Watchmen Silk Spectre
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|Awhile back I reviewed the
first release from Hot Toys in their Watchmen series, Silk Spectre.
Tonight, Jeff Parker is jumping in with his review of the lovely lady
as well - take it away, Jeff!
Back in 1987 I bought my first edition of WATCHMEN… and by that I mean
it was in its first collected edition. I’d heard about it, read about
it, but then I finally owned it.
I can honestly say it didn’t blow me away on my first reading. But I
liked it a lot, and after years of reading comics I was intrigued by
its complex story, it’s skewed history and themes of duty and identity,
but mostly I liked how it just told me a super hero story in a way that
understood that I as a reader had grown up reading superhero comics. It
understood that I had already taken that leap of faith, and the story
just jumped in, all guns blazing.
But it also told us about their everyday lives with more ‘adult’
themes, these were ‘hero’ characters that were shown to be morally
ambiguous in a way that hadn’t been tackled before. All of a sudden
being a super hero didn’t save you from the mundane, being unpopular,
impotent, misunderstood or lonely.
The story didn’t patronise by ‘over explaining’ what was happening, it
was in that respect a bold new direction for comics to take… and for me
as a 19 year old it was something of a revelation.
|But the thing
about WATCHMEN is that like other great literature you
find yourself going back to it time and time again. So like The Catcher
In The Rye, To Kill A Mocking Bird or Frankenstein you find yourself
discovering new dimensions within its basic premise, as you get older.
not to say that I don’t think it’s become a little too grand for it’s
own good. It’s now held up as ‘the’ beacon of the graphic novel genre,
and quite frankly it’s good… but I still think Moore's work on V for
Vendetta holds more of a lasting resonance about the times we live in.
Which brings us nicely onto Alan Moore’s works being translated into
Hollywood movies… and unless you’ve been living under a rock you will
know that he doesn’t like his work being tampered with… at all!
understandable, after all his work has been treated badly by filmmakers
in the past, most notably the virtually unwatchable… no, sorry I mean
unwatchable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Though I have to say,
for me V for Vendetta was actually a pretty good interpretation of the
source material, making for a very good movie, (OK, Natalie Portman was
woefully miss-cast, but the over all package still worked well).
so we finally get on to the movie version of WATCHMEN, a movie that was
always going to be over scrutinised by the fan base and mostly
misunderstood by the average cinema going public. And it proved to be
I spoke to my cousin after he had seen it (he hadn’t read the novel),
he’s a smart guy, but he totally didn’t get it. He was expecting a
Batman or Spiderman type of superhero movie, but what he got was an
angst ridden tale of alienation and retribution. Likewise many of my
‘on line ‘ friends and acquaintances who were fans of the book found
themselves disappointed with aspects of the characterisation, and the
interpretation of elements of the story.
Well, for the record
I wasn’t, I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I’m not too precious
about the book, never have been, so I think Zack Snyder did an
admirable job of translating the difficult source material to the
screen. I still don’t own the movie on DVD as I’m patiently waiting for
the fabled directors cut, extended, all singing and dancing version
with Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood included, to
finally become available in the UK (Edit…I just bought the standard
2-disk edition). So for now I’m still relying on the memory of my
solitary theatre experience, and for me it’s still mostly a fond memory.
lets stop pontificating, we are here to talk toys, and Hot Toys chose
to hit us with Silk Spectre II as the first release from the movie, and
they will be following up with a figure of the Comedian.
some these might seem like strange choices, after all the Comedian
doesn’t have one single redeemable feature, he is the original,
narcissistic nasty bastard… I despised him in the comic and I despised
him in the movie… but yeah, you guessed I was meant to, so like all the
best ‘bad’ guys I just have to have the figure for my collection.
the character of Silk Spectre II is seldom going to find her self on a
list of WATCHMEN fans most popular characters. But with her new sexy
costume for the movie, and a great sculpt of the ‘lets face it’ quite
Akerman by Lee So Young what’s not to like.
In the comic she wore an alluring semi-transparent chiffon shift dress
over a leather/PVC swimsuit with a plunging
neckline. But for the movie she has a far more ‘updated’
S&M, ultra skin-tight PVC corset over a zip fronted skin-tight body
Couple this with PVC opera gloves and stiletto heeled PVC thigh boots
that attach to her corset with suspenders… then hubba, hubba, hubba…
we’re in 1/6th fanboy heaven!
Once upon a time you always knew what you were getting with the Movie
Masterpiece Series (MMS) of figures from Hot Toys. It would be a
metallic sleeve over a 5-panel flap fronted box, but things have
changed a lot.
As the company has grown, so has it’s design ethos towards it’s
packaging. It seems we as the customer are all comfortable enough with
the brand to let them experiment more.
And so recently each new movie license has been getting it’s own
distinct look to it’s packaging, and that trend continues with WATCHMEN.
What we have is a primarily black and white outer slipcase with bright
yellow accents. The front has a large publicity photo of Akerman in
character with a bright yellow band that wraps around the whole box
horizontally. Out of this band is the movie title in stark black.
The back has a monotone image of the figure in the extra trench coat
that’s included as an accessory; this is next to a full figure shot as
a full colour image. This outer packaging slides off to the side to
expose the inner box which has a large windowed front. This again
utilises the high-contrast black and yellow colour way. The back has a
full list of production credits and a rather fetching full figure image
of Silk, which really shows off just how tight this outfit was… and
just how perky she looked in it.
Open the inner box and slide out the main tray and card-backing panel,
as this panel has a smaller tray housing the extra coat accessory
attached to it. Just razor the circular tape-stickers on the back, and
this opens by simply sliding the tabs out. Silk lays in the large
transparent tray with two fitted lids, parts of the costume and her
hair are also protected by Polly-bags and strips that need to be
Malin Akerman is more famous for being a blonde, but to me at least,
she looks far better as a brunette… but there again I’ve always
preferred brunettes… unless there’s a redhead in the room. She’s a
beautiful woman with strong features and Lee So Young has done a fine
job of capturing her look. Her expression here is the determined side
of neutral, eyes straight forward with her lips slightly open. The nose
is beautifully observed, as are her two beauty spots, there is one next
to her right eye (which was make-up applied to fit how the character
was drawn) and the other raised one, on her left cheek, which the
actress actually sports. It’s a great piece of work, however as is oft
the case it looks better from some angles than others, but luckily it
looks very good from most. I’m also getting a little Liz Hurley coming
through on this sculpt, and a smidgen of a young Amanda Donahoe, but
She comes with rooted hair in a very slick, straight style with a
severe fringe, and I think this is without a doubt the most successful
figure with rooted hair I have seen so far. It hangs pretty
convincingly and stays in place well. Also where the back part of the
head joins the front, just behind the ear, it’s virtually seamless,
unlike on the Silk Spectre figure,
this was also the case on the two new female True Types, all of which
had rooted hair, but had a slightly raised seam at this join. So I’m
very pleased with Lee So Young’s work here, I don’t think we’ve had a
sculpt from her before, so I shall definitely look forward to seeing
more in the future.
Edit, I just found out she also did the new Blade II sculpt,
so she’s already proved her mettle.
When JC paints women he seems to live by the doctrine that less is
more. But lets face it when you are working on a rough, unshaven,
grubby action hero, then there is a big scope to show off your talents.
But when you have to rein those flamboyant excesses in, when
understated subtlety is the order of the day… well, that’s what sorts
the men from the boys.
So for Silk here, a lady with a flawless complexion, JC has kept his
palette warm and gentle. There’s beautifully even work on the cheeks
and chin with the lips picked out in a light salmon pink, edged in a
slightly deeper hue to give more definition. These lighter tones help
show off and enhance the details sculpted into the lips, even showing
the tiny wrinkles and lines, and the recess for the interior of the
mouth, where it is painted darker to help give extra emphasis to the
depth. The eyes and eyebrows are painted as well as ever, showing great
detail work on the iris and pupils, even picking out the pink line
between the ivory eyeball and the exquisitely delicate eyelashes. Just
another case of perfection, as we have come to expect from JC’s work!
I recently managed to get hold of the two new female True Types as
well, so they gave me a good idea of what’s going on under the suit by
checking them out. They have a great range of mobility, and if I was
purely rating this on the effectiveness of the base body it would be
close to a full score, the only area that does seem to need a little
revision are the ankles. They can turn and rock back and fourth, but
they lack a side to side rocking movement, which would have been handy
for Silk in those fetish boots.
So the restrictiveness here is a by-product of shoehorning that
pneumatic body into that ‘oh so tight’ outfit.
The base figure doesn’t have double knees, but the boots are so tight
they can only achieve about a 70 degree bend anyway. The rest of the
body is as good as the classic female True Type always is, so there’s
bags of good solid articulation, no loose joints and that funky
articulated mid section in the torso (which is kind of lost due to the
tight corset), not to mention the cool neck that’s covered in rubber
but still poses like a dream. But do bear in mind the restrictive
nature of her outfit.
However, because it is so tight, and is lying so well, I decided I
wasn’t going to try and undress her. I did find out one interesting
fact though, by searching over eBay I found Silk’s base body being
parted out, and it would seem she is a variant after all. The new
feature seems to be a soft fabric section in the mid
torso, this is obviously to help cut down on the bulk in this
area, and looking at the figures silhouette I’d say it’s done its job
Silk doesn’t come with a whole heap of stuff, but the extra hands are
welcome for some of those more iconic poses, and the extra trench-coat
is nicely put together as I described above. She also has the classic
black figure stand embellished with the bright yellow movie logo,
mirroring her outfit nicely.
I really can’t think of anything much else she could have come with,
perhaps her unusual cigarette or even a small copy of the
‘Sensacionales’ Tijuana bible featuring her mothers incarnation of the
original Silk Spectre, so I guess what we got represents her pretty
Did I mention how tight the Silk Spectre II outfit
was in the movie? Well it was very,
But I guess that’s the order of the day when you’re a female super
hero. Her particular outfit left almost nothing to the imagination, and
had the appearance of actually being sprayed on to her body. But as it
was actually fabricated from latex that was formed over a body cast of
the actress, then you’ll understand why it looked so snug.
You can read about the making of her actual outfit here
where you’ll discover that Syren, the company that developed it, said
it was one of the most complex and daunting outfits they had ever
worked on… and they were that guys that put Michelle Pfeiffer in the
costume for Batman Returns. So, if Syren, a company that had been
making ‘specialist’ clothing for quite some time, say they were daunted
by the task… how could Hot Toys ever try and copy it at 1/6th scale?
Well Harue Creative took on the task for them, they’ve tried, and
they’ve pulled it off as realistically as I think is probably possible
at this scale. But where as the actual outfit was made of semi
transparent latex, which has to be welted and glued on its seams, they
went for a more manageable plastic coated fabric that can be sewn. It
can’t however get as ultra skin-tight as latex, and doesn’t have its
Nonetheless this is still a very close fitting wardrobe that Silk is
adorned with. It consists of a pair of thigh high stiletto heeled shiny
boots that are attached to a corset with suspenders. The corset has a
working zip up front and a skimpy gusset that runs right underneath her
crotch round to the back which has a working laced up panel in its
centre and straps that go over shoulders back to the front. Under this
is a secondary body suit that has high cut hot-pant style legs and
another working zip running right up the front to its high collar. It
also has elbow length sleeves that fit under her long black gauntlets.
Her gloved hands fit over the end of the gauntlets, making them look
like latex opera gloves. These are in turn attached to the shoulder
straps of her corset with tiny working buckles, and to finish it off
she has her formed silver belt around her waist.
It’s funny, but after looking this outfit over, you realise that it
would be virtually impossible to get dressed into without the help of a
friend… but I can’t imagine there are many men that wouldn’t mind
helping a lady squeeze into it!
So, to sum up it’s a very striking outfit with its stark jet black and
bright canary yellow colour scheme, making her look like a very frisky
wasp. But even though this redesigned outfit lacks the ‘silk’ that the
original costume had, there’s no denying this is a whole lot more
As an accessory she also comes with Laurie's dark brown/bronze,
mid-thigh length, trench coat. This is a nice cut, it’s fully lined,
has two studs to hold it shut, but to aid in it’s aesthetic it has
eight tiny real buttons sewn onto the front in a double breasted style,
and three even smaller buttons sewn onto each cuff. It also has the
traditional open flap over the chest area and working pockets and a
working belt, which like traditional trench-coats is very long so it
can be worn tied. As I said, a beautifully tailored and put together
garment… but the irony is, with Silk looking so hot in her basic
outfit, is anyone really going to want to cover it up?
So, to sum up, a fantastically realised outfit that looks great on the
figure. Obviously it’s not as skin-tight as the real thing, but you
have to consider that the outfit is already restrictive because of its
snug fit, so had it been any tighter you may as well have bought a
statue, meaning for me, they seem to have hit a pretty good middle
Value - *** 1/2
With a little work you can get Silk for as little as $120 on eBay, but
I think $130 is more common and reasonable price to aim for, and at
that price I have no problem with ‘almost’ a full score. But at the RRP
of $145 I’d put her more in the three stars category.
You can see a lot of R&D has gone into this figure, not least
that outfit, and I have a strong feeling this will be a bit of a slow
burner, if HT base the numbers they make their figures in, based on
pre-orders (and I have a sneaky feeling they do) then there might not
be that many of these around. So, if you are a dedicated WATCHMEN fan
it might be shrewd to get her now while bargains can still be had,
because when/if Night Owl and Rorschach get made she’s gonna get even
more desirable than she already is!
Factor - ***1/2
I’ve already gone over the fact that the tight outfit means the poses
she can achieve are a little limited, but with a modicum of work you
can get her into the classic teaser poster
pose, pretty well.
The biggie with this line will be just how many figures they give us
from the WATCHMAN line up. So far we have Silk, we know we’re getting
the Comedian, and Rorschach has been hinted at in a photo that got
leaked of the production studios at Hot Toys. But we really need Night
Owl to go with Silk,
I mean, it’d be like doing Butch without Sundance, or the ALIENS line
without doing Bishop or Newt… oh, yeah… oh well, fingers crossed.
Lets face it Night Owl would be a great figure to get the Hot Toys treatment!
On a side note, you can find some great hi-res WATCHMEN posters and
wall papers here
if you’re looking for some good reference shots
- *** 1/2
I’m pleased with Silk, she comes in a nicely designed box, she has an
amazing sculpt and very well executed ‘real’ hair. The outfit, though
not perfect, is beautifully realised and is fabricated very well for
the scale, and you can tease some great poses out of her. Really the
only thing that might count against her will be whether or not we get
the rest of the WATCHMEN crew to display her with, but only time will
But for now, even without her comrades in arms, she makes for a very
striking display figure, and even if (Darwin forbid) we only get the
Comedian to go with her, at least we can have father and daughter
reunited at last!
to Buy -
Considering Watchmen is a DC license I was surprised to find Sideshow
got to carry these, but they had her available for $144.99 but she’s
sold out. You can still try the waitlist
or try some of the links below-
Alter Ego Comics
Big Bad Toy Store
Or you can hit eBay.
This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer.
Photos and text by Jeff Parker.